Sunday, July 17, 2005

Modesty: Always Opposing Lust

It is a big problem in the church today: Lust. It comes to all people, of all backgrounds, of all churches. People respond differently. They either ignore it, hoping it will go away on its own; they pray about it, asking God to lead the affected parties away from that sin; or they welcome it, indulging in the pleasures it brings.

And, let's face it: lusting is enjoyable. A man or woman gets to dream about fulfilling the desires of their wicked hearts: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It does bring pleasure--for the moment. Then the consequences catch up with you, and you want to hide.

The good news is, that Jesus is waiting to forgive us when we turn away from our sins and cry to Him for help; He will forgive us and remember our sins no more. That's why He died (Heb. 10:11-18).

But how do we avoid this sin? What can we do against our own and others' wickedness of heart?

Well, the Apostle Paul said, "Make not provision for the flesh fulfill the lusts thereof." Joshua Harris puts it this way: "Don't pack a lunch for lust." If you know that someone is more likely to lust after you when you do something--don't do it! There is more to it than just wearing the proper clothing. In order for a woman to effectively discourage (notice, I did not say, "prevent") a man from lusting after her, she must have three things: 1) proper clothing; 2)proper demeanor; and 3) proper responses to inappropriate behavior.



PROPER CLOTHING

Chapter One: Getting the Right Foundation

We must understand what true modesty of clothing is. The modern conservative standard is greatly flawed. It is neither consistent, nor logical, nor even Scriptural. For one garment, something is immodest, but for another occasion exposing the same area is okay. Like swimming or the prom or the wedding: the amount of flesh shown on these occasions is usually more than is expected on Sunday at church. But then, even some of our Sunday gatherings leave much to be desired.

When Jesus was here on earth, He said that we should strive to be as holy as our Heavenly Father. That command was not given so that we could lord our holiness over other sinners, but so that we could be blessed. Sin, we are told, is not reaching that standard of holiness--the glory of God ["Holy-Holy-Holy, is the Lord of Hosts," Isaiah 6:3](Rom. 3:23). Thus we lose out on many blessings we could have, because we disobey our Lord.

Let us remember that sin is our ultimate problem. We are condemned because we manifest Adam's rebellious nature: God gives us a command, and we refuse to keep it, for some stupid reason. Thus God is just to simply let us all burn. But He loves us, and died for us to bring us back into a right fellowship with Him. That fellowship calls for an abandonment of the thing that caused the rift in the first place--sin.

Lust is sin (Rom. 7:7). There is no way around that. If we indulge in sin, how can we say to the world, "We have what you need: Jesus, who saves from sin!!"? What is the point of us magnifying Jesus for taking away our sins if we are going right back to them?

But what is right to wear? How much should she cover? The Bible gives us clues; even though it does not have a passage entitled "How much a Woman should cover to discourage the wandering eyes of Men," it does tell us how much she should cover.

Let me pause by saying that you're not going to agree with everything I put in here. I know that the standard I see in the Bible is not what women wear today. I still believe that it is the right standard, but you go with what the Lord tells you. If you can't see what I see, I can't make you. The Lord will tell you what to do.

Our first clue is found in Genesis, the foundation Book of every thing in the Word of God. It gives us the real reason the we wear clothes--not because we have evolved higher than the animals and so became more sophisticated(we didn't: God created us with that status [Gen. 1:26]), but because we sinned!! Sin is still present with us today, is it not? So then, clothes are not out of date, neither are the standards that God established when He made the first real clothes (more on them in a minute). Therefore, it is improper to say that something which was not right in the past is now all right because "times have changed." The reason we wear clothes has not changed, and neither have the conditions under which they were made.

No, we are not still in the garden, but we are still sinful. Our sins are the same as Adam's sin--rebellious acts of the creature against the wishes of the Creator. God made the man and woman naked at first, and this was "very good" (Gen. 2:25 and 1:31)--at the time. Then, when Adam listened to the rebellious counsel given him by his wife, it was not so good anymore. "[Then] the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;..." (Gen. 3:6-7). See, it wasn't a problem before sin. Nakedness was no issue at that time. But sin makes a naked person vulnerable to lust-inspired behavior. At least with clothes we have some sort of hindrance to our wicked desires, some kind of delay to allow us time to rethink a poor decision. But without clothing, there would be no such protection.

And without the right clothing, that protection still does not exist. Men want sex easily. That is our sinful tendency, ladies. We don't want to pay the price that God requires us to pay before we can receive our "suitable helpers." We know that "it is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18), but we also know that God took a part from Adam to create the woman he needed; and like the rebels we are, we don't want that to happen to us: we don't want to give up anything.

We know that it is wrong, and we do it anyway, because we think we can get away with it. A young lady expressed despair, saying that she wanted to save sex for her husband but feared that she would never get a date if she did. And she's probably right. In the business world, it is called collusion: everybody on one side of the market secretly agrees to demand the same extravagant standard, forcing everyone on the other side to either pay more than they should or do without. It is wrong there (in fact, in most cases it is illegal), and it is wrong here. It is just as wrong for a man to do that to a woman (or for a woman to require that of a man) as it would be if the automobile manufacturing companies of the world chose to sell us terribly malfunctioning automobiles and no one could buy anything else to move around in the world. Good competition keeps them from doing that for now, and the laws on the books are designed to prevent it from happening in the future (only time will tell). In the same way, God's rules protect us from each other--if we abide by them.

It is wrong to ask a woman to give up her future, her body, her health, when the man has not pledged to her his own future, body, and health. Marriage fulfills those obligations. It is the formal promise before God and man to give all of oneself to the other and to graciously receive all from the other (I Cor. 7:1-5). It is protection to both the man and the woman.

Therefore, it is important to know God's rules so we can follow them and benefit from them. But what did God say about the standard for clothing?

Chapter Two: Getting the Right Answers

"And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. ... Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins and clothed them." (Gen. 3:7, 21)

After Adam and Eve had sinned, they sought to eliminate the vulnerability they felt because of their nakedness in a sinful world. But the coverings they chose were not sufficient in God's eyes. That's why He made a substitute. The wording of the text is very important, because it gives us the clues as to what God believes is our nakedness--and therefore what we should cover.

An apron only covers the front. By definition, it cannot cover the back, or the sides. A coat, on the other hand, can cover it all. In fact, the word translated "coats" in the KJV is actually translated "tunics" in every other translation. If we believe that the modern tunic is what the writer of Genesis had in mind, we are badly mistaken. The current model is nothing like the original. Neither was the tunics of the Romans or the Greeks.

I looked in the Encyclopaedia Americana and the Macropaedia Britannica, and they both concur that the tunic before then was much more covering. As best as I can tell, it was reached to the knees or below and had "half-sleeves" (to the elbow).

But why? Why would God require that Eve cover so much? Most of our present day standards would allow a woman to show at least three inches above her knee--standing up (we know it goes higher relative to the size of the woman and the make of the skirt when she sits). If the above conclusion is correct (and I think that it is), then even her knee could be considered part of her "sacred beauty," the attractive part of her body that only her husband should enjoy. Hmm.... Her shoulders (at least), too. Hmm... That sounds just a little too strict for today's world, don't you think?

Oh well, that's why you never establish a teaching on one passage of Scripture. The Bible consistently requires that any testimony have a corroborating witness, "that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16; Deuteronomy 19:15; II Corinthians 13:1; I Timothy 5:19). And I believe I have one. Bear with me.

Song of Solomon 7 is a great love chapter--for those who are already married. For us who are not, it speaks of the joy we can look forward to when we have united in Holy Matrimony with the spouse of God's choice. Solomon is adoring his wife--his blessing from the Lord--from head to toe (although not in that order). Interestingly, he had written in the Proverbs, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich..." (10:22) and here he showers upon his wife praises of wealth; that is, he compares her "more comely parts" to more expensive possessions. Reading from the KJV:

1. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lillies.

3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes which are twins.

4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath--rabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.

5. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.

6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

7. This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

8. I said, " I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof": now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lip of those that are asleep to speak.

What admiration he had for his wife!!

As you might have guessed, those things that are italicized, I am alleging to be his wife's (and thus all women's) sacred beauty. Those things that are underlined are the symbols of wealth. Verse 8 is the exception to this rule, but I will explain shortly.

Verse one has a very simple explanation. There is no question that carefully, specially crafted jewels are symbols of wealth. The only question is, to which part of her body do they correspond? Some one will say, "Oh that's easy: the joints of her thighs are her hips; she shouldn't show off her rearend." And that person would be half-right. But only half.

Any anatomist can tell you that a thigh has two joints. Two. The other half would be the knees. Yep, the knees. Then you would have to include the rest of the thigh, as the ornament into which the jewels are set is just as valuable as the jewels themselves for as long as the jewels are set in it. In this case, as far as Solomon s concerned, "Till death do us part" (cf. also Isaiah 47: 2-3).

Verse two is probably also somewhat surprising. We usually don't call it nakedness, but we do know that a woman is immodest if she shows this area. Only a wealthy man could keep his wine flowing through his goblet. And only the reasonably wealthy grew wheat in those days (the poor ate barley)--and most definitely only the wealthy would dress a heap up with lillies.

Skipping the element in verse three until later, I will explain why nothing was noted in verses 4-6. Even though ivory is a valuable commodity, a tower cannot be hidden, and indeed is designed to be seen ; a fish pool can be admired by any passerby; the tower of Lebanon was definitely common in use; Mount Carmel was cited for its majesty, not any sort of exclusivity; and purple, although a prized dye, was admired by all passersby. Yes, the last two speak of her queenly majesty, but there is nothing in them that could not also be enjoy properly by a peasant as well as the king.

In contrast, though one may admire the queen's stature, he dare not attempt to climb her unless he be the king!! The date palm, to which this passage is referring, was also a symbol of great wealth in the ancient times. The boughs were where the fruit was held, and this fruit was highly priced, er, prized. These would correspond to her upper arms, because the boughs of a tree and the arms of a person are both termed appendages, because of their similarity in placement on the two structures. Only her upper arms would be included, because 1) that's where the fruit would be (bicep and shoulder area) and 2) if a man tried to go out any further on the limb than the node that begins the leaf--he would quickly discover its weakness!! This fact leaves no desire to reach out any further; concurrently, there just is no special attraction to a woman's forearms, but there is beyond the elbow--just like there is for men.

Her breasts, of course, are obviously her nakedness. Everyone in the world knows that. The prize status of grapes in the Middle East (and elsewhere) for their wine making uses is well-known. The only problem we have is defining exactly what is meant by breasts.

In America, it is illegal to show her nipple in public, but not the flesh around it. I ask, " What's the difference? And where are we going to draw the line?" How much of her breast is too much? Any of it. We need to stop making it up as we change venues: God has already defined the breast--physiologically--and we need to abide by that definition when we try to understand modesty.

Isn't a little cleavage all right, even necessary these days? (Some women cannot get certain kinds of jobs if their breasts weren't large enough to suit the lusts of the men who were hiring or who would be frequently passing by. And women who participate in professional sports that are suffering for money try to draw men's attention to that sport by dressing up with cleavage showing. And much of women's formal attire scoops low in front to show cleavage.)

In a word, No. God has told men how to treat women who are not their wives. "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. [Should] thy foutains be dispersed abroad, and the rivers of waters in the streets[? Nay, l]et them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. [Thereby] Let thy fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and the pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love. " (Proverbs 5:15-19) God has told us men what to do; now ladies, don't be like Eve and offer us a chance to disobey. She did not escape punishment for what she did and neither will you. God does not approve when His men are taken down, and He will recompense.

But also men, know that though God may punish her for her part, He will also punish you for yours. Sin hurts people, God made man the caretaker of the woman (just as Adam was the caretaker of all the animals he named, so also he was the caretaker of his wife, whom he also named). Being the caretaker is similar to a parent-child relationship: when you know that something is about to go wrong, it is your job to stop it, not just hers! Don't wait for her to learn that she is tempting you wrongly on the date: stop her before you both leave and ask her to change. Don't show favor when she is wearing immodest clothing in the office: have less to say about her clothes at that time. Don't "hang out" where you know immodestly dressed girls are going to be; then women who watch you will know you don't approve of that stuff. Some sightings cannot be avoided, I know; but if you walk towards temptation, you are not following the Lord: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..."(Matt. 6:13). You must choose a different path.

Chapter Three: Getting the Right Help

To whom do we turn when faced with temptation? The only answer can be Jesus Himself, Who "was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin"(Hebrews 4:15). The temptation can be to compete with each other for the attention on men or to lust after an immodest woman's breasts. It can be easily resisted or struggled with for a long while. Either way, Jesus is the one who can help us to defeat all temptations that come our way. If we don't turn to Him, we have no one but ourselves to blame when we fall. When we do turn to Him, it is also time to listen to Him, unless we just don't mind falling. Asking Him for help and then rejecting His commandments is unproductive in the attempt to hinder sin. It is in itself a sin, and we all need to repent of it.

One thing it would be wise to do is exclude from our heads our motivation for doing something wrong. If it is wrong, we should stop doing it. It is not a question of what we intend to bring about or whether we intend to cause someone else to fall, but a question of obedience to our Lord. Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time,'Thou shalt not commit adultery': But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28) The words with her are very important: if she willfully engages in activity that she knows encourages him to lust after her, she is also at fault and due punishment (cf. Deuteronomy 22:22-29). And the Bible also says that sin which we committed unknowingly is still sin to be repented of, once we have been informed that we were wrong (Numbers 15:27-28).

And there is not a good reason to continue to do what you know to harmful to someone else. The Bible repeatedly commands us to love our neighbors as if they were ourselves (see esp. Romans 13:8-10). We know that that means to stop doing what is hurtful. Paul said it like this, "Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock, or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."(Romans 14:13) We are to care for one another so that none of us is carried away into sinful living.

PROPER DEMEANOR

Is immodest clothing the only way a woman can tempt a man to lust her? No. It is probably the most flagrant, and the most effective; but it is hardly the only way. Some women are temptresses just by the way they walk--deliberately drawing attention to the prized portions of their bodies by not-so-subtle movements cloaked by otherwise modest clothing. Some are tempting by the way they speak (such as tone of voice), or the subject matter they cover when they speak. Still others can communicate a desire for men's lustful attention by hairstyles, footwear, and other attention-drawing accoutrements on an otherwise modest exterior.

These habits represent a fundamental problem in the way the women are raised. They are led to believe that a good relationship starts with superficial qualities, such as beauty (which, in itself, is almost completely undefinable); that a good relationship can include sex, but exclude marriage (actually, it is "double or nothing", not one or the other); and that a relationship based on lust is based on love.

Chapter One: In the Eye of the Beholder

Beauty is subjective. There are many ways for a woman to be attractive to a man. Many men will tend to like the same things, but not all of them will, and even those who tend to agree at mot points will diosagree at some point. And I'm not just talking about football teams, either. I'm talking about women.

I have heard guys give rave reviews about women who were so widely different, that it was confusing. I had to resolve to content myself with whatever the Lord sends my way, because it is so hard to nail down a preference based on looks. All kinds of things are pleasing to the eyes. It is vain for a woman to change her body to suit the desires of "most men," because the one that God has chosen for her will accept her the way God made her. And there is no guarantee whatsoever that the man/men she is trying to impress will even take notice of the change. But it is almost guaranteed that if he/they do, the woman will suffer for it.

I do not know of a woman who changed her body to what she thought a man wanted and was actually pleased with the way he treated her. Not one. A man loves you, or he doesn't. And he will make up any excuse to justify why he feels that way about you. Or he will test you to see how many hoops you will jump through to be the "perfect woman" for him. Allow me to share with you some words of wisdom from my favorite singer/songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman:

"So many different voices call/ And I try hard to please them all/ I run in circles till I fall/ So I'm falling on my knees/And praying...(Chorus)Please, Please, Please only You/ Only You/Please, Please, Please, take my heart/And make it true/Let everything I say/And everything I do/Please, Please only You/ Please only You!"

The only One women (and the rest of us) should be concerned about pleasing is Jesus. Many different people will try to tell us what is the best way to get where we want to be in life. But Jesus said that for all of our needs, we ought to "seek.. first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

"But the context is food and clothing." Yes, but it applies to all of our needs (v. 32b). Some people need to get married (Matthew 19:11-12; I Corinthians 7:9, 36). If that is your case, you can expect that the same Lord who daily provides for all your needs (Philippians 4:19), will also pay as much attention to detail in getting you the right spouse.

But what is the glue that holds a good marriage together? Isn't attraction part of it? To a limited extent, maybe it is. Some guys pride themselves in thinking that they have the most beautiful woman in the world--and to their own eyes, they might be right! But what happens when the beauty fades as Adam's sin continues to corrupt God's creation, and the body begins to break down, and the woman he got along with so well is now falsely accusing him in front of the children--and she thinks she's right? The only thing that will hold that marriage together is true love, agape love, unconditional love, a love that will not let go. That is what a woman should see in a man before she agrees to marry him. And that wedding should happen before they "come together" in bed.

Chapter Two: A Right Time, and a Wrong Time

Many men will demand sexual intercourse on the first date. A woman who does not think that "dinner and a movie" are enough to purchase her body for one night, is not likely to be asked out again. Women are desparate. One wrote to an advice columnist (who gave her the wrong answer, by the way), "Should I just give in?" The columnist replied, "... If your reasons [for wanting to preserve herself for her husband] have merit, you should [stick to your guns]" . IF?

What she should have told that young lady is that that man did not love her at all and just wanted to use her body without paying the price that God demands that a man pay: the rest of his life, a.k.a., "Till death do us part"! Men are trying to be cheap because they do not value the women they use, and therefore do not love them. Any one whom you can hurt with impunity is not loved by you. And that is exactly what these men do. They get in between her legs, exposing her to untold numbers of diseases and the possibility of a child (which should ordinarily be a joyful experience; see Psalm 127:3-5), and then "dump" her when she becomes a hindrance to their other pursuits, such as a career, another woman, or a hobby.

"But he said he loved her!!" He lied. He probably doesn't even know what love is. Love is not sex, and sex is not love. Sex does not necessarily follow love, either. I love my sister, but God will be very angry with me if I have sex with her!! Sex only follows as a direct consequence of love when it is done in a legal marriage. Anything else is iniquity (called either fornication or adultery), and true love "does not rejoice in iniquity" (I Corinthians 13:6, NKJV)!

The Bible says, "Marriage is honourable in all, and [that] bed undefiled: but whoremongerers and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4) It can be no clearer than that. Now tell me, knowing that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God [when He is executing His wrath]" (Hebrews 10:31), how can you say that you love someone and set them up for that?

Chapter Three: Mutual Exclusion

Lust and love are opposites. They are enemies. Lust seeks to use the person lusted after for the pleasure of the one who is lusting with no regard to what might happen to the first person. Love, in contrast, actively seeks to be a blessing to the one who is loved. can you really be a blessing to someone by drawing them under God's judgment? No. Whether you preach a false gospel, or seduce for sexual sins, you are bringing that other person under the judgment of God. That is not love, no matter what noble qualities you might ascribe to your "relationship." You are actually that person's enemy.

The Bible says, "...the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Proverbs 27:6). Deceit. That's what Satan does, isn't it? Convince people that something is true when it is not. "Ye shall be as gods..." "I love you." That last one sounds pretty hollow years later when she is raising the kids on her own or checking into the clinic for her regular veneral disease check-up or going to her counseling sessions to recover from the broken heart you gave her. How can we men be so callous? Lust. Lust is what produces lies that ruin peoples lives.

But ladies that also means that common attraction advice, how to "get him to look at you" is very dangerous. There is nothing good about a man lusting after a woman. Nothing. "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15) That word finished speaks of the finality of the thing in question. Thus when sin is allowed to become a permanent part of your life (i.e., no repentance; see I John 1:9), it leads to death and all of its harbingers (pain and suffering and illnesses; i.e., rape, brokenheartedness, venereal diseases). Those places that people say to emphasize are priceless tresures which you should not share with any man who does not purchase them. Rental is not allowed!!

Remember what happened to Israel after Hezekiah displayed all of the treasures of the land to the Babylonians? The Babylonians came back and took what they were shown with a vengeance. The lust of the eyes and the pride of life caused the deaths of many an Israelite in that conquest, and it is the same for women today. Yes, the men are wrong for raping and deceiving and infecting the women they do. But it is indeed a foreseeable consequence of the deeds promoted. If you think that all men will accept "no" for an answer when they see something they prize, think again. Just like the Babylonians--who were wrong and were eventually judged by God for what they did to Israel--they will in the meantime come strong to cause you much pain and suffering and significantly increase your risk of illness. Don't cater to the flesh! "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14)!!!

Now one of the things that most people seem to be concerned with is getting a huge number of men from which a woman is supposed to be able to choose the "right" guy. God has already chosen the right guy for you. If you just OBEY HIS WORD, He will guide your steps and lead you to the right man, just like He did for Eve. How soon we forget what a faithful God we have!!

PROPER RESPONSES

There are two ways a woman can let a man know that her body is for her husband alone, and nobody else: Words and actions.

Chapter One: Words

They don't have to be harsh. They just have to be firm. They don't have to be offensive; but they do need to be effective. I'm talking about the words a woman uses to indicate her desire to be sought only for marriage and not temporary sexual relationships.

Men who do not want to hear these words are left with three choices: pursue somebody else, change the method of pursuit of this woman, or change the goal of the pursuit of this woman. They could all be evil-minded choices, depending on the man.

Some men are more interested in getting sex than in getting that woman. They will move on. In such a case, a woman should be encouraged that the Lord is looking out for her by exposing "pretenders" (fake wooers) and moving them away from her life so she can see the real man that God wants to bless her to have.

Other men will try a different route: more money, more clothes, more dates, better appearance (for himself)--or force. Some men will not take rejection. Pride makes them think that they are too good for a woman to say "No". Some even go so far as to think, "I'll force her, and she'll like it then"--and have raped enough women to know that a woman will say that she enjoyed it to protect her life; and have in the past actually used such statements to deceive themselves. But, ye wicked men, God is not fooled, and He is not impressed. Every clever trick in the book, God has seen them all--and the ones your father the devil did not tell you about!! Ladies, God is watching over you, and He will avenge you. So go to the police, take the stand, be there for his parole hearings: these are the things that God has given you so that you may see that He is a God of justice who does not allow sin to go unpunished. And if your country's justice system fails you, remember that God is still in control: somebody will pay by the route that God has already prescribed--you do not have to arrange one yourself--either in the Lake of Fire to come, or in this life only, because he repents (then Jesus will have paid for it, God Himself taking the punishment for the wrong done to you).

Still others will change their goals. Possible goals include the right goal--which is marrying the woman (but he still may not be God's choice for you)--or wrong goal--embarrassing the woman (yes, the one that did that to you, that was his goal from the start). Even if a man declares his interest to be changed, a woman still needs to rely on the Holy Spirit to discern what she should do. Sometimes the guy is only saying this stuff to get you off guard. "The heart of man is deceitful above ALL THINGS and DESPARATELY WICKED: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Certainly not a woman, because she can only look at the outward appearances, "but the Lord looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7); He alone can tell you if it would be wise to allow this man to continue to be in your life. Otherwise, because he has already shown himself to be evil-minded, you would probably be better off leaving him alone. Second chances are for God to give out.

Chapter Two: Actions

"When it's all said and done/It's got to be all or none/Words are no good/Unless they're backed with actions"--Steven Curtis Chapman

Once you have said "no" end the relationship right there. There is no need to continue to associate yourself with a man who has clearly demonstrated that he does not have your best interests at heart. If anything, you might be setting yourself up for a fall: by not forcing him out of your life, you might make him think that he is still wanted and you are just being coy. The results of this sort of behavior have often been disasterous, including rape and murder in addition to broken hearts. Don't answer his telephone calls, or if, you must answer them, make them as short as possible; don't agree to go out with him any more; don't answer the door if it is he--and don't open it if you must answer! Many a woman has been raped by opening the door to someone she knew and with whom she had had a recent disagreement. Just like you shouldn't feed a bear, you should never open the door to a man whose sexual advances you have rebuffed.

And then don't hang around lustful men. Just like swimming in shark-infested waters, you are in literally grave danger if you do so. It is foolish to believe that by going around lustful men you will find a man who actually cares about you. The results are never good. I know of no successful, godly, happy marriage that occurred when the couple met in a bar, especially if one of them was saved. God does not provide you with satan's prizes for your mate. God will specially groom somebody for you. You do not have to settle for this worlds dregs when you are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness:

"Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find.; knock, and the door shall be opened unto you....If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your own children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?" (Matthew 7:7, 11) Ask the Lord for the right man, and He will indeed send him (even if that means no man at all)!

EPILOGUE

For more about finding God's will for you in relationships, I recommend Elisabeth Elliot's books Passion and Purity and Quest for Love; and Joshua Harris's books I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, and Sex Is Not the Problem: Lust Is.

For a woman's perspective on modesty, go to: http://www.briomag.com/briomagazine/healthandbeauty/a0004123.html

or http://www.purefashion.com